March 15, 2012
As an avid reader, I enjoy a variety of books. Many are light reading and are forgotten soon after I turn the last page. Only rarely does a book stay with me long after I have finished it. The book Home Front by Kristin Hannah, has had that effect on me. Home Front is the story of a marriage between a workaholic attorney, Michael, and an army National Guard wife, Jolene. As a couple, they are dealing with a marriage that is in trouble and two daughters, ages 4 and 12. When Jolene’s guard unit is deployed to Iraq, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. Jolene, who is a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, must deal with the resentment of her daughters and husband. Her daughters think she can just decide to stay home and won’t tell her they love her when she has to depart. Jolene compensates by not sharing what she is really dealing with and painting a rosy picture of her time in Iraq. Michael is left at home to deal with household issues and two girls who miss their mom.
As the family adjusts to life without their mom, events unfold in Iraq. Jolene’s return home creates another set of problems. Just as the family adjusted to life without their mom, they must now adjust to a mom who, instead of being the problem solver, now has many problems of her own. Soldiers are taught to be tough and Jolene has trouble accepting help. To say any more will spoil a really good book, so I will stop here with the story.
What I appreciate most about this book is the story that it tells of a woman who chose military service. The book shows a very real picture of the horror of serving in Iraq. We hear of men who are separated from their families, but we don’t think about women who have to leave families behind. The book deals with many of the issues of being a military family and shows them in a very human light. We often don’t think of what happens when a military person returns from war, but this story also deal with PTSD and shows how difficult it can be for returning soldiers to receive help. As I turned the last pages, I did so with tears running down my cheeks. I have a new respect for our military and all they sacrifice to keep us free.
Jean Ann G.
Lone Jack Branch